This Horndean man went from health wreck to NHS mentor – Big Read

Mark Hancock with his son Matthew in 2003 when he weighed 16 stones.

Mark Hancock along with his son Matthew in 2003 when he weighed 16 stones.

Weight and weight-reduction plan wasn’t one thing he nervous about when he was in his 20s. But when he reached 30 and began to pile on the kilos, Mark turned more and more involved.

Mark, from Horndean, says: ‘I felt myself getting heavier and feeling extra drained. The meals I used to be consuming weren’t notably good.

‘At across the similar time, I had left my job as a monetary advisor at Lloyd’s financial institution and began my very own enterprise. When you’re self-employed, you’re typically working lengthy days, late nights and dashing round. Eating properly wasn’t excessive on my precedence listing.

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Mark Hancock getting ready for a run close to his house.
Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘Then the monetary crash hit which put extra stress and pressure on me as a result of it was not a superb time for my trade.’

It wasn’t till Mark, 50, tried to get life insurance coverage that his unhealthy way of life was dropped at the fore.

He says: ‘As a part of the insurance coverage coverage, they despatched a nurse spherical to see me. She stated my blood sugars had been barely excessive and it could be price going to the GP.

‘Like lots of people, I googled loads of my signs that night time and satisfied myself I had sort 2 diabetes.

‘I saved on having an itchy foot at night time however didn’t suppose something of it. It turned out it was a symptom.’

At 39, Mark was recognized nevertheless it nonetheless got here as fairly a shock. The common age of analysis within the UK stands at 45 and it’s not unusual, with greater than 9 out of 10 folks with diabetes having sort 2. It was beforehand referred to as ‘adult-onset diabetes’ as a result of it was hardly ever recognized in kids.

Mark explains: ‘The medical doctors organized a nurse to assist me with a weight-reduction plan plan and we went via the NHS Eat Well plate collectively.

‘I used to be round 16 stone and knew my physique wasn’t coping.

‘At 39, I used to be nervous as a result of I didn’t ever suppose I might have this situation and particularly at an early age. You begin serious about your future and retirement and I didn’t need it full of hospital appointments and drugs.

‘The NHS was very useful and loads of the weight-reduction plan made sense. It was made up of low fats meals and starchy carbohydrates, akin to brown rice and brown bread.

‘I knew it was a progressive, power sickness however I had a plan.’

Like most sort 2 diabetes sufferers, Mark was prescribed metamorphin – a drug which lowers your blood sugar ranges by enhancing the best way your physique handles insulin.

‘I used to be all the time informed to do the most effective I might with out a lot remedy however they stated as time went on, it will enhance,’ says Mark.

‘I began actually stepping into health, doing greater than the 150-minutes train prescribed every week.

‘I believed I used to be turning my life round. My blood sugars slowly began to drop and the degrees improved.’

Mark was on a well being excessive, feeling joyful and assured in his potential to regulate his situation with weight-reduction plan and train. For him, utilizing extra remedy would all the time be a final resort. He says: ‘However, as time glided by they slowly began to creep up once more.

‘In 2016, they had been going to extend my remedy. I didn’t know what to do and knew I couldn’t do any extra. I used to be following all of the steering and consultants however my situation was getting worse once more.

‘The medical doctors stated they did inform me it was progressive and nobody was ever in remission of sort 2.

‘I simply needed to have the ability to do one thing about it. They informed me I used to be by no means going to get off this experience and when you turned diabetic, that’s it.’

Mark slowly got here to phrases with this till he got here throughout Jeremy Vine speaking to a physician about sort 2 diabetes on BBC Radio 2.

‘Jeremy was speaking with Dr Michael Mosley, who was saying we might have the therapy for sort 2 diabetes all incorrect and that our understanding just isn’t as clear as we as soon as thought.

‘He stated that starchy carbohydrates will not be the most effective as a result of they’re tougher to interrupt down. Those with sort 2 have a slower metabolic price and have an actual downside metabolising carbohydrates. Therefore it places the physique beneath extra strain. He stated it wasn’t serving to folks enhance.

‘There had been different research which advised sort 2 may very well be reversed with actual meals akin to reducing carbohydrates, avoiding processed meals and rising wholesome fat, akin to butter and cheese.’

Within one week of adjusting his weight-reduction plan, Mark’s blood sugar ranges returned to regular and he was taken off remedy. He says: ‘In that one week, I additionally misplaced 9 kilos and two months later, I used to be a stone and a half down. My blood sugar ranges have been regular ever since.

‘That’s once I determined I needed to assist others as a lot as doable.’

In the previous few years, Mark has devoted a lot of his time to spreading the phrase in regards to the diabetes weight-reduction plan which labored for him.

‘In 2017, I used to be invited on to Radio Solent to speak about my story. Then in 2018, I used to be invited to parliament to talk alongside professors and medical doctors who had discovered proof for weight-reduction plan reversing diabetes. Dr David Unwin, a GP within the north of England, needed me to elucidate it from my viewpoint and the way significantly better I felt.

‘David Unwin has seen his GP surgical procedure minimize remedy prices by over £50,000 every year. Just think about the price saving if all surgical procedures had been serving to their sufferers this manner.

‘Since then I’ve been invited to NHS conferences and Michael Moseley invited me on stage when he gave his speak in Portsmouth.’

In 2019, the native NHS diabetes crew headed by Sue Craddock invited Mark to assist them and set up a weight-reduction plan programme.

‘We got here up with a six-week on-line programme the place we guided the kind 2 diabetics in what to eat, what to keep away from consuming, the best way to introduce motion into their day by day lives, intermittent fasting, managing stress and the significance of a superb night time’s sleep.

‘They additionally noticed not solely their diabetes enhance however different situations did too akin to hypertension. One girl had been diabetic for 17 years and on 72 models of insulin a day. She now not takes any insulin.’

In 2020, Mark was provided a place inside the NHS as their Health and Wellbeing Coach for East Hants Primary Care Network. ‘I’m now an worker of the NHS overlaying 9 surgical procedures, but 11 years in the past I might have laughed should you had advised such a factor.

‘If I carried on the best way I used to be going, my life and future can be full of physician appointments. I’m glad that’s not my future now.’

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